Helping Clients After Animal Attacks in Florida
Dog bite injuries can be very painful, both mentally and physically, especially if the dog is owned by a close friend or family member. Dog bites and maulings can cause serious injury and even death. Many times, victims of dog attacks require multiple surgeries and therapies to repair the damage, but they can also be left permanently injured or disfigured.
If you or a loved one suffers from a dog bite injury, you should reach out to an experienced attorney immediately. Our Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyers understand what you’re going through and can fight for your right to reimbursement from the dog owner, property owner, and insurance companies. Ginnis, Krathen, & Zelnick, P.A. has extensive experience in handling dog bite lawsuits. We have successfully obtained significant dog bite settlements for our clients and want to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.
Call us for legal services in English or Spanish at (954) 905-4600, or contact our team online. We invest our resources and time into each case we handle.
When Are Dog Bites Likely to Occur?
Every year, nearly 4.5 million Americans experience dog attacks or dog bites. Dog attacks can happen anytime, anywhere, though they commonly occur at the residence of the dog owner or in public spaces like parks or on neighborhood walks.
There are many factors that can provoke a dog to lash out and bite a person. Some reasons why dogs bite others include:
- They’re trying to protect something that is important to them, such as their food, toys, or puppies
- They’re scared or startled
- They’re feeling sick or sore from illness or injuries and want to be left alone
- They’re threatened and trying to defend themselves
- They’re feeling playful
Often, dogs will bite people when they haven’t been socialized or properly trained by their owners, or when they’re not properly restrained. Florida is known as a “strict liability” state, meaning that dog owners can be held liable for bites even if they weren’t aware of their dog’s aggression. Victims don’t need to prove their injuries were caused by an owner’s negligence in order to recover compensation. Victims simply need to prove that they were bitten and that they were in a public space or lawfully on private property.
However, there are some instances in which an owner’s liability can be reduced. If the victim happened to be on the property unlawfully, such as if they were trespassing or breaking into the property, the owner won’t be held liable for damages. The same applies to victims who provoked the dog into attacking them or if the dog was defending its owner.
Florida’s Dangerous Dog Statute
Florida also has a dangerous dog statute that is meant to protect people from aggressive dogs. When dogs are declared dangerous, the owner must follow a strict set of rules. For instance, they must register their dog with local authorities and provide warning signs around the area where the dog is being held. If the dog is taken off the property, it must be restrained with a leash or harness and a muzzle.
According to Florida law, dangerous dogs are considered those who:
- Have chased or aggressive approached a person without being provoked
- Have aggressively attacked, bitten, or caused severe injuries
- Have seriously injured or killed another animal more than once
Common Dog Bite Injuries
People generally associate dog bites with scratches or other minor injuries that can heal on their own in a manner of days, but the reality is that dog bite injuries can be severe and cause other complications like infections. Some dog bites require cosmetic surgery and hospitalization.
Common dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds
- Nerve damage
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Face injuries
These injuries can quickly rack up your medical bills and cause you to miss out on wages from taking time off work to heal. Additionally, because many dog bite victims are children, your child may be subject to bullying or teasing if their face or other visible parts of their body endure scarring. Our attorneys can take all of these damages into consideration when determining how much you deserve to be compensated.
How an Attorney Can Help
A dog attack case can be hard to comprehend, especially if the attack occurred with a dog that you trusted or even loved. There are not only several complex realms of law involved in dog bite lawsuits but also sensitive personal and emotional issues. If you or a family member was attacked by a dog, it is important to find a knowledgeable dog bite attorney who has successfully handled dog bite lawsuits in the past. You want someone who is first-rate, but also someone who is compassionate and willing and able to give you the time and attention you deserve.